By Mike Lillis - 07/29/11 09:12 PM EDT
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday declined to endorse a 14th Amendment solution to the debt-ceiling impasse.
All of Pelosi's top lieutenants have urged President Obama to invoke the Constitution and hike the debt limit unilaterally as a last resort if Congress fails to act by the Aug. 2 default deadline.
"I hope that we can come to an agreement before then," Pelosi said as she left a Democratic Caucus meeting Friday afternoon. "That's where I'm focusing my attention."
The 14th Amendment states that the “the validity of the public debt … shall not be questioned.” Many observers of the current debt-limit debate argue that the language empowers the president to raise the debt ceiling without congressional input.
On Thursday, the second-ranking House Democrat, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), threw his weight behind the 14th Amendment option to prevent a government default.
“Very frankly, if it came down to his looking default in the eye on Tuesday or taking this action, better to take the action and find out later that perhaps he went beyond his authority but at least protected the credibility of the United States of America," Hoyer told MSNBC.
Other top Democratic leaders including Reps. James Clyburn (S.C.), John Larson (Conn.) and Xavier Becerra (Calif.) have promoted that option.
Obama has declined the advice.
“I have talked to my lawyers,” he said last week. “They are not persuaded that that is a winning argument.”